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Leach Treewalk

Leach Botanical Garden Aerial Treewalk

For decades Leach Botanical Garden has been an enchanting refuge in East Portland - and now we are about to take bold steps toward becoming a garden for everyone, both in East Portland and around the region. The centerpiece will be a treewalk - 30 feet off the ground - giving visitors of all ages and abilities the chance to experience a truly unique urban garden and forest.


Leach Botanical Garden opened to the public 34 years ago, and over the years we’ve been able to expand its acreage. Now we're ready to take the most ambitious step ever. After delivering surveys in four languages to 50,000 households, meeting with hundreds of neighbors at fairs and community gatherings, and consulting civic and business leaders, a clear consensus emerged. To better serve visitors and students Leach should provide a "wow" attraction, year-round color, more gathering spaces, and easier access to and within the Garden. In response we developed a comprehensive plan to connect 100,000 visitors and students with nature through plants, ecology, education, art, and recreation. We're now on our way to making years of dreaming about how to develop those new acres a reality and we want you to join the transformation! 


We need your help to build the Aerial Treewalk, one of the anchor components of Leach’s transformation. The Treewalk will be unlike anything else in the region.  

Our Treewalk will thrill all visitors and increase up-close access to the woodland at Leach. At its southernmost point, the 345 foot long oval walkway is elevated 30 feet above the wooded hillside. The Treewalk  will provide all visitors an unforgettable garden overlook and a fresh perspective on nature.  

This crowdfund gives everyone in our community a chance to be part of building the Treewalk and transform a one-of-a-kind garden retreat into a more accessible and exciting community resource.  Just as John and Lilla Leach - who lived and worked in East Portland over 75 years ago - created and bestowed their gardens to Portland area residents, we can make sure that new generations of visitors delight in the discovery of the plant world. 


(Photo by Rick Liu)

The nucleus of Leach Botanical Garden is John and Lilla Leach's 1936 house surrounded by four acres of garden beds, given to the City City of Portland in their wills. John, a pharmacist, and Lilla, an accomplished botanist, created a garden to share their fascination with plants. Lilla’s work, explorations, and discoveries earned her an international reputation in the botanical community. Lilla discovered many new plants, including the Kalmiopsis leachiana. John was the owner of the Phoenix Pharmacy at SE 67th Avenue and Foster Road, and a community leader involved in civic improvements throughout Portland. The Leach's property was developed as a home and haven for studying plants – particularly Northwest species – and sharing that knowledge with friends and family. Read more about the history of Leach.


We appreciate all of the hard work our community puts into Leach, whether you're contributing to the crowdfund, volunteering, or simply enjoying and learning from the gardens. You can also help by sharing this crowdfund and posting on Facebook to help spread the word! This crowdfund is our chance to transform a one-of-a-kind garden retreat into a more accessible and exciting community resource for all of us.  Would you take a moment to send an email to the people you know asking them to click on the link to this site and to consider contributing?  Even people who are not gardeners will recognize the significance of making this ‘place like no other’ a garden gem for our city.

Your contribution to this crowdfunding campaign goes to Leach Botanical Garden, a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt nonprofit organization.



We've got a number of ways to celebrate Leach Botanical Garden - and to thank you for supporting this crowdfunded project! For anyone who gives, we'll thank you on the Leach website. 

At the $25 giving level you'll receive a packet of pollinator seeds whose flowers attract butterflies and bees.

For a gift of $50 you can claim a garden journal, designed by the Far Woods, to record your garden activities, best practices, and lessons learned for three years.

And, for those who give at the $250 or higher, we're extremely excited to actually celebrate the opening of the Treewalk with you at a sneak peak event! 


How much will the Treewalk cost? 
We anticipate the Treewalk will cost $1.2million. Thanks to generous support from community members, we’ve already raised $1,080,000 - and this crowdfund will leverage additional funding from the City of Portland and a Murdock Charitable Trust grant to build the Treewalk and other new aspects of the garden.

When will the Treewalk be built?

This first phase of development, which includes the Treewalk, is expected to take place in 2018-2019. 

What else is happening as part of this bigger plan to transform Leach?
The Treewalk is one element of the First Phase of the Leach transformation. Highlights include:

  • Habitat and Pollinator Garden 
  • Fireplace Terrace and Arbor, event space with inspiring views
  • Gathering Green for programs or informal events
  • Safer Paths Connecting Upper and Lower Gardens
  • Upper Garden Parking
  • Welcoming Garden Entry
  • Improved Interpretive Signs
  • Woodland Enhancements

Future phase highlights include:

  • Alpine Garden, showcasing some of the most fragile plants on the planet
  • Children’s Garden, featuring hands-on experiences
  • Community and Special Events Pavilion
  • Gift Shop and Partner Offices
  • Gulliver’s Garden, an enchanting garden that makes visitors feel tiny
  • Physic Garden, a modern take on John Leach’s medicinal garden
  • Visitor Welcome Building
  • Water Gardens, with a pond, bog, and fen

You can read more about the Upper Garden Development Plan.


Video: Sika Stanton

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